We’ve gone through a little more than a month of the college basketball season. The Cincinnati Bearcats are 8-2 overall, coming off a needed home win against Mississippi State and preparing to get revenge against the UCLA Bruins. Now seems as good a time as any to re-evaluate the player power rankings.
15. John Koz (Previous ranking: 15)
#KozingTime. One last call for basketball, so put up your shots and let’s cheer. Koz has only played in two games since our last rankings, recording two trillions in the process.
14. Sam Martin (14)
Martin has still not made a field goal but he did score two points against Richmond, going 2-for-2 at the free-throw line.
13. Jackson Bart (13)
Bart splashed threes against Richmond and Alabama State but has not played since Nov. 27.
12. Mamoudou Diarra (11)
Diarra did not contribute in losses to Florida and Xavier, but finally got back into the action against Mississippi State. However, he only played for one minute and did not post any statistics other than that. He did have five points and three rebounds in nine minutes against Coppin State, but his workload remains locked to blowouts.
11. Eliel Nsoseme (12)
The two freshmen big men swap spots mainly because Nsoseme just played a bit better while also getting more time on the floor. He played eight minutes against Xavier and blocked four shots, and although he scored a grand total of one point in his last seven games, he has played in eight games compared to five from Diarra.
10. Nysier Brooks (10)
Brooks is only playing a few more minutes per game than understudies Diarra and Nsoseme, averaging an even 10. Still a consistently utilized player off the bench, he just isn’t getting long bursts on the floor, with his last three games featuring less than 10 minutes of time. The last time he was out for more than that he scored nine points against Alabama State.
9. Tre Scott (8)
After littering the box score in the first two games of the season, Scott has returned to being a rebounding force who does little else. That’s perfectly fine since that’s his role right now, especially as he has surpassed Brooks in playing time, hanging in there for at least 12 minutes in five of the last six games. He collected seven rebounds in back-to-back games during that time, including the loss to Xavier.
8. Trevor Moore (9)
Moore leapfrogged Scott because of his 11-point outburst against Alabama State and the nine-point, eight-rebound showing he had in a career-high 24 minutes against Richmond. He didn’t move higher than this spot because he was held scoreless in his last two games.
7. Keith Williams (6)
Williams didn’t see the floor much at all in the big contests against Xavier and Florida, playing a total of four minutes combined and failing to score a single point or even get off a shot. He has not been in double figures since scoring 10 in back-to-back games to begin the season but he has a more defined role on the roster than Moore right now.
6. Jarron Cumberland (3)
Holy cold streak, Batman. Cumberland’s shooting touch has been absent for all of December, as he is shooting just .360/.333/.542 over the last eight games despite playing more minutes than anyone not named Jacob Evans and Gary Clark. He did have 15 points against Xavier but is coming off a 1-for-8 shooting performance against Mississippi State.
5. Kyle Washington (7)
Washington has somehow moved up despite being inconsistent. (And that’s putting it mildly). He did put up a goose egg points-wise against Xavier and is really doing poorly on the boards, with a total of 16 combined over the last four games. The Bearcats still know he can be effective, as he illustrated with 16 points against Mississippi State and a double-double against Wyoming. He just has to do things like that more often.
4. Justin Jenifer (5)
If you look at Jenifer’s stat line over the last eight games, you’re not going to be overly impressed. He is averaging just six points and 2.6 assists per game in that time. However, he has become the starting point guard and meshed well on the wing with Jacob Evans in that first lineup. He moves the ball better than most and is a relatively efficient scorer when he is tasked with getting a bucket (.405/.524/.875 shooting splits). So, its not so much all-conference play that’s made him important, but his ability to fit in nicely and do things that go unnoticed.
3. Cane Broome (2)
Broome played pretty well against Xavier and Florida, something that can’t be said about the rest of the Bearcats. He scored 16 points and handed out five assists in the Crosstown Shootout and followed that up with 15 points against the Gators. He has scored in double figures in six of 10 games this season, but has been a little too turnover-prone (22 already) and is still trying to find a clearly defined role as he’s gone from starter to offensive lightning off the bench. Still, its hard to imagine the Bearcats competing with the X and Florida without him.
2. Jacob Evans (1)
On the surface, Evans has been wonderful as always. He’s played more minutes than anyone else (29.1 PG) during the last eight games and posted excellent shooting splits (.494/.405/.840) while scoring 14.3 points per game. However, he was off all game against Florida and didn’t really turn up for the Xavier game until the second half. He definitely got back on track against Mississippi State (24 points, eight rebounds, three blocks), so hopefully the slight struggles were just a blip.
Aside from that, something interesting about Evans’ season is his work as a shot-blocker. He is actually leading the way among Bearcats who have been in every game in block percentage (6.2) and had at least two rejections in four games.
1. Gary Clark (3)
This just feels right. Clark has been the consistent force that has carried the Bearcats when others have floundered. He scored when the team needed him to and then retreated to do more work on the glass and defensively when that’s what was required. During the last eight games, he has averaged 13.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks per game, proving once again that he is a problem for opposing teams.